I recently rediscovered a long-lost love of Thai food over a riotous feast of flavours at Mango Tree…
The unassuming restaurant in Belgravia has been on my list for some time now, based on more than one enthusiastic review from trusted foodie friends. Its popularity was certainly confirmed by the busyness of both the bar and the expansive dining space, with our fellow diners varying from business suits to both intimate and vivaciously large groups of friends and family.
I was here with an old school chum of mine, the jewellery designer Talia Naomi. Not having seen each other in quite an age, we had lots to catch up on and kicked off our evening on a perky note with hibiscus flower-infused cocktails!
Talz was battling a terrible cold on the evening and the sweet and sour tang of a fiery Tom Yum soup was exactly what the doctor would have ordered. Less well received was her grilled corn-fed chicken thigh as it was suffused with a pinch too much pepper, overwhelming the other more subtle elements at play, such as the hint of coriander in the marinade.
Meanwhile my deep-fried tofu was slightly underwhelming, the spicy peanut sauce unable to lift the pallid texture of the tofu… But that’s about the extent of all our quibbling, as the rest of our meal was packed with an intensity of zippy and well-balanced flavours.
A green papaya salad was bursting with a summery freshness, tempered by a spicy lime-based dressing which added a zingy note.
Talz’ baked black cod was a bowl of pure joy – the rich choo chee sauce (a fiery but deliciously herby seafood curry) balancing the tender meatiness of the fish with aplomb. While my green curry was comfortingly substantive – the exotic veggies, beancurd and Thai aubergine adding hearty elements to the creamy (but never heavy) curry.
In addition to our aromatic jasmine rice, we couldn’t resist springing for a plate of Pad Thai Jay – classic Thai rice noodles stir-fried with a medley of moreish ingredients from bean curd and chinese chives to peanuts and beansprouts. We clearly couldn’t get enough of the stir fried veggies actually, ordering a side dish of mixed greens (Chinese kale, broccoli and sugar snap peas) and oyster mushrooms, lightly flavoured with a soya sauce!
Never ones to pass up on dessert, we opted for two chocolate-based ones as both of us have a slightly fiendish obsession with the cocoa bean…
The chocolate fondant was as good as you’d hope to find anywhere, a side of coconut ice cream lending a subtle Thai twist. But it was the chocolate sphere which turned out to be a rather exotic affair – a milk chocolate dome surrounded by fresh fruit and white chocolate sprinkles, all of which melded together in a perfectly-imperfect pool once the lush toffee sauce was poured on top!
It was the first Thai meal I’d had in a long while and it harmoniously hit all the right notes for me – sweet, sour, spicy and salty!
Having rediscovered my love for this cuisine, I don’t doubt I’ll be back at Mango Tree before long. It’s definitely the sort of restaurant you can’t help but be a regular at.
Mango Tree, 46 Grosvenor Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 7EQ
I was a guest of Mango Tree, but as always all opinions are mine and mine alone.